McGill Student Warns Incoming Freshmen About ‘Disheartening’ Reality of Being Jewish on Campus
A Canadian Jewish student issued a warning Tuesday to incoming pro-Israel freshmen about the harsh reality they will likely face on campus for their religious and political identities.
In an op-ed published by the Washington Post, Molly Harris — a third-year McGill University student — wrote about being singled out by anti-Israel groups and many of her “liberal peers” for her campus advocacy on behalf of the Jewish state.
“I’ve been called a ‘Zionist b****.’ I’ve been told several times that Jews haven’t suffered… I’ve seen my friends mocked for their Judaism in crude, hateful language on popular anonymous social media platforms,” Harris wrote.
During one attempt to raise awareness about campus antisemitism, Harris said, she was told by a student publication that the topic had already been covered in the “mainstream Zionist media.”
Harris warned that social-justice organizations — which, she said, share many values with the Jewish community — have aligned themselves with the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and have “excluded” Jewish students from their ranks.
She stated that activists continue to “propagate the idea that Zionism underpins many of the world’s problems, as well as claim that Jews have no right to feel connected to Israel and that any Jew who does feel a connection to his or her religious homeland is part of the problem.”
“As a Zionist, this can be extremely disheartening — why should you be alienated from a cause because you believe Israel has a right to exist?” she wrote.
Jewish students must “prepare” themselves and understand that the “years to come will be challenging,” added Harris. “Whether it’s fighting BDS, coming under attack in class discussions or being made to feel unwelcome in an activist group, your experience as a Zionist at school won’t be simple.”
Harris concluded by encouraging students to fight back against antisemitism and anti-Zionism, urging them to “get involved with the causes you care about… Don’t abandon your case just because some of the people involved with them condemn Israel. And don’t be afraid to speak up to peers, professors and community members. You never know where you’re going to find an ally, and they won’t know where to find you unless you’re vocal about what you’re doing.”
Reports of antisemitism and anti-Zionism on college campuses in Canada have been numerous. In June, McGill made headlines when its Judicial Board ruled that resolutions supporting BDS violate the Constitution and Equity Policy of its student government. The decision came after an 18-month period in which three consecutive BDS campaigns, all of which failed, were waged on campus.
In August, as reported by The Algemeiner, a pro-Israel student advocacy group filed a human rights complaint against the Student Association and Faculty Association of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology for being denied the chance to take part in a “Social Justice Week” event on campus, due to its endorsement of BDS.